At Havana, the food keeps coming, the cocktails flowing, and the good times last all night.
With an irresistible energy and eclectic soul, it’s no wonder that Cuba’s capital is on everyone’s bucket list. Just like its namesake, Hot New Table and Cuban-inspired gastro-lounge Havana should be on yours too.
You may not have to travel over oceans to get there, but finding H Group’s latest project can still be a bit tricky. The only access to this speakeasy-esque spot is through a corner lift at Pondok Indah Mall 3’s Street Gallery. Once you have reached the top, prepare to gasp as you step inside Havana’s grand main enclave. High ceilings and ornate interiors will have you soon transported to the glamorous Golden Age of Cuba. The action is all downstairs, where patrons can snag a stool at the bar or cosy up in leather booths. For a bit more privacy, slip upstairs and take a cheeky moment to peek through an antique telescope that sits by the corner window.
On the menu, you’ll find that Havana is more Cuban in feel than in taste. The restaurant’s progressive Cuban cuisine has French, Spanish and Mexican influences – a fusion that makes sense considering Cuba’s proximity to its South American neighbour and history with its European colonizers. Signature appetizers include a tasty roasted aubergine with minced ragout; black charcoal quesadilla with smoked yoghurt dip; and an ensalada covered with a crispy spring roll dome, which once cracked reveals a salad of greens with kicky pomelo and grilled chicken.
At Havana, communal eating is the focus. Mains like Bone in Ribeye, Roasted Chicken, and Platter from the Sea, are meant for sharing and portioned for five diners or more. Other dishes are meant to be shared tapas-style – unless you don’t feel like sharing at all! Their juicy Braised Brisket is served with tasty chimichurri and mashed potato, while their Dry Rubbed Roast Chicken comes with cilantro corn lime rice.
For a dessert that stands outs, order Havana’s Vanilla Panna Cotta. Here’s a tip for Instagram foodies: take out your phone and have Boomerang on standby before the dish arrives. The chef will come tableside to pour freshly macerated berries onto your plate, filling the table with whispy white smoke from liquid nitrogen. It doesn’t last long, so make sure to take as many pics possible before it vanishes!
Once you’ve wrapped up dinner, stay for the tipples and the entertainment. Rum-based cocktails come in tropical-inspired ware, like the “Honey I’m Home” Colada served in a ceramic coconut; the El Crown in the golden pineapple, and the Beach Bum in a Tiki mug. For something a little stronger, check out Havana’s impressive whiskey library, which houses rare spirits sourced from all around the globe. Connoisseurs craving Macallan M, Glanfarclas 30, Hibiki 30, and Yamazaki 25 will be happy here. Pair it with a Cuban cigar to round up the night and you’re golden.
Havana, Pondok Indah Mall, Street Gallery, Level R, Jl. Metro Pondok Indah, South Jakarta, p. +62 21 2952 9730
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